1st Edition

Penal Culture and Hyperincarceration The Revival of the Prison

    254 Pages
    by Routledge

    254 Pages
    by Routledge

    What are the various forces influencing the role of the prison in late modern societies? What changes have there been in penality and use of the prison over the past 40 years that have led to the re-valorization of the prison? Using penal culture as a conceptual and theoretical vehicle, and Australia as a case study, this book analyses international developments in penality and imprisonment. Authored by some of Australia’s leading penal theorists, the book examines the historical and contemporary influences on the use of the prison, with analyses of colonialism, post colonialism, race, and what they term the ’penal/colonial complex,’ in the construction of imprisonment rates and on the development of the phenomenon of hyperincarceration. The authors develop penal culture as an explanatory framework for continuity, change and difference in prisons and the nature of contested penal expansionism. The influence of transformative concepts such as ’risk management’, ’the therapeutic prison’, and ’preventative detention’ are explored as aspects of penal culture. Processes of normalization, transmission and reproduction of penal culture are seen throughout the social realm. Comparative, contemporary and historical in its approach, the book provides a new analysis of penality in the 21st century.

    Penal culture: the meaning of imprisonment; Global convictism and the postcolonial; Parliaments, courts and imprisonment rates; Correctional paradigms: the rise of risk; Suitable enemies: penal subjects; Reinvigorating the prison: new perspectives on containment; Penal culture; transmission, normalisation and reproduction; Winding back mass imprisonment?; Manifestations of contemporary penal culture; Bibliography; Index.


    Professor Chris Cunneen is a conjoint professor of criminology in the Faculty of Law of the University of New South Wales. He held the NewSouth Global Chair in Criminology at UNSW from 2006 to 2010.

    Professor Eileen Baldry's main areas of research and publishing are in: the criminal justice system focusing on critical criminology-critical disability studies development, vulnerable persons and minority groups - people with mental health disorders and cognitive disability, women and Indigenous persons; throughcare, transition from prison, post-release and homelessness; and criminal justice-human service system interactions; and in Indigenous social work; and community and social development in social housing.

    Emeritus Professor David Brown taught Criminal Law, Advanced Criminal Law, Criminal Justice, Crime Prevention, Community Corrections and Penology courses at the University of NSW in Sydney from 1974 to 2008.

    Dr Mark Brown's primary teaching and research interests lie in the areas of penality, corrections and colonial penal history.

    Alex Steel is the Associate Dean (Education) and an Associate Professor in the Law School. He has published widely on theft, fraud and dishonesty law and theory.

    ’... I admire, and would recommend, the book as a model of academic writing, exegesis, explanation and argument. The authors are clearly very much at home with the vast array of empirical materials and theoretical perspectives which they describe, explain and employ with ease and elegance of expression...It is that clever and seamless combination of structure and strategy which unifies the six authors’ contributions into one consistent and coherent authorial voice. And, also arguably, it is that authoritative but multiply-nuanced voice that endows the book with its discursive power.’ British Journal of Criminology ’The cutting edge theorizations and focus on colonialism and racism by Australia’s leading penal theorists make this book an outstanding and original exercise in comparative and historical criminology.’ Pat Carlen, University of Kent, UK ’This is a compelling account of contemporary penal development in Australia and its underlying causes. In what is a rarity, the analysis is based on research in each state. It will be of great interest both in Australia and beyond.’ John Pratt, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand ’The revalorization of imprisonment is a development that has shocked and dismayed experts around the world. This remarkable book examines the prison’s changing meanings, traces its shifting place in contemporary culture, and offers penetrating insights into the social and political processes that explain the surprising resurgence of this 19th century institution in the 21st century.’ David Garland, New York University, USA and author of The Culture of Control and Peculiar Institution